We’re on a humanitarian mission to explore the emerging frontiers at the intersection of science, technology and nature. Our single-minded purpose is to develop lifesaving medicine for people around the world. We will achieve this by bringing together the best of what computational biology, plant biomanufacturing and human integrity have to offer.
Example of portable growing and extraction facilities inside a shipping container for local production
The world we live in requires new methods, and we've taken on the challenge of developing them based on our three core values. Empathy, our priority, guides our choice of projects and compounds. Honesty is critical in conversations about designing new living organisms - we are transparent in what we're doing and how we're doing it. Finally, Scientific Rigor is an underlying principle in our complex, cross-disciplinary approach - without rigor, we have science fiction, not science.
Our proof-of-concept project Insulin is one of the oldest manufactured biologic compounds. It was first patented by Banting, Best and Collipin 1923. The three inventors famously sold the patent to the University of Toronto for one dollar. ‘Insulin does not belong to me,’ as Banting pointed out, ‘it belongs to the world’. Nevertheless, almost a century later, insulin is still not accessible to every person in need. Insulin ‘deserts’ exist, for example, in certain regions of Africa, where caritative associations battle to bring insulin to the population. (see article)
Other countries like USA recently had to regulate the pricing of insulin, as lower income household are struggling to pay for the treatment. (see article)
Even more recently, the travel disruptions brought by the COVID pandemic highlighted the fragility of global supply chains. (see article) In 2021, insulin access is still a priority for the WHO. (see article)
At Helico, we chose to develop our proof-of-concept to tackle the ‘insulin problem’. We address accessibility by using plant models and focusing on local production. The way we see it, insulin can be produced where and when it’s needed most.
Bottomline: we can make this life saving medicine available for all.
Design of a Portable Insulin Facility in a Refugee Camp
Seeds are magic vessels. They contain genetic and evolutionary data. They carry blueprints for new possibilities. At the heart of an ancient geometric symbol, called the Flower of Life, we find its life giving Seed. It’s the engine of creation from which everything grows. The Seed of Life represents Beginnings and Completion, Wholeness, Diversity, Fertility and Regeneration, Strength and Balance.
The symbol is ancient and universal. The seven circles represent a fundamental geometry of nature and humanity. We see it in the seven colors of the rainbow. We hear it in the seven main musical notes. We live it seven days a week.
The Seed of Life is a talisman for Helico that brings together two opposite sides of the company in a harmonious way. The floral element speaks directly to plants and nature, while the geometry represents mathematical expression and the company’s scientific approach.
Helico is dedicated to developing new seeds of life and spreading them around the world.